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Soccer-Related Mobile Search Tripled During World Cup: Study

July 29, 2010


The recent World Cup brought a captivated audience to mobile - a trend that is growing with the globalization of media and culture and is magnified by the accessibility of the mobile Web, says Ground Truth, a mobile media measurement firm.In a recent study conducted on the popularity of soccer-related mobile Web content during the World Cup, Ground Truth found that traffic to soccer sites tripled during the tournament.

The study found that during the 2010 World Cup, Americans increasingly relied on their mobile devices to keep apprised of news and events throughout the day.  Ten days before the start of the World Cup, an average of 10.7 percent of visitors to the most popular mobile sports sites accessed soccer-related content, but on the tournament's inaugural day, a staggering 32.2 percent tuned in for soccer news and updates, the report found. As the U.S. soccer team advanced in the World Cup, soccer fans in the country also turned to mobile sports properties.

Ground Truth found that on June 23, the day the U.S. faced Algeria, the highest percent of mobile browsers (41.1 percent) sought soccer information. On June 12, when the U.S. faced England it was 38.6 percent, and on June 18 when the U.S. faced Slovenia, it was 35.8 percent. On June 23, on the day the U.S. faced 40.8 percent mobile browsers used the information pertaining to soccer.

“It's a fascinating phenomenon--there was no run-up of interest prior to the first day of play, but on that day we saw a huge spike in the percentage of people interested in soccer, as well as an overall increase in daily unique subscribers,” Michael "Luni" Libes, founder and CTO, Ground Truth, said.

“Beyond the interest in U.S. matches, each set of major games—the quarterfinals, semifinals and final—corresponded with a peak in traffic, with a trough corresponding with the period between the conclusion of the last round of play and the beginning quarterfinals, when no games were played,” Libes added.

The study used Ground Truth’s True View methodology to measure traffic to ESPN (News - Alert), the predominant sports site on the mobile Web. According to Ground Truth, the usage of ESPN site surpasses those of the 20 sport sites ranking below it, combined—and its soccer properties, SoccerNet and ESPN/soccer, from the period between May 31, 2010 and July 11, 2010.

True View is a patent-pending, census-based methodology that provides precise site-level usage metrics across several measures, including sessions per subscriber, pages per subscriber, pages per session and time per subscriber, on a weekly basis.  

"This event was a textbook demonstration of how the mobile Web keeps consumers connected to major world events as they happen, regardless of whether they are in front of their computers or television screens," Libes added.

Rajani Baburajan is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Rajani's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi